London might be a thriving metropolitan city but that doesn’t mean you can’t escape and find an oasis of calm. Right in the centre of the capital is the London Wetland Centre, a destination that’s perfect for getting away from the noise of the crowds and discovering the wildlife that calls the reserve home.
Situated on the other side of the River Thames from the Kensington Park Hotel London, the London Wetland Centre is just a 10-minute walk from Hammersmith, which you can get to from your room on either the District or Piccadilly tube lines. The reserve was first opened in 2000 and just two years later the area was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Covering an impressive 100 acres, it was the first urban project of its kind in the UK.
The lakes, ponds, and gardens are perfect for a stroll in London that feels like you’ve stepped a world away from the hotels near Gloucester Road where you’re staying. But what should you be doing during your trip to get the most out of your visit to the London Wetland Centre?
The wildlife that lives in the reserve are the top reason to visit, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with the British wildlife as you walk around the water. Expect to see cheeky otters and beautiful dragonflies, as well as an abundance of birdlife, including kingfishers, rose-ringed parakeets, and smews. If you plan your visit as dusk falls, you might even be treated to the sight of bats swooping across the skies.
Wildlife watching couldn’t be easier at the London Wetland Centre, head to the observatory for stunning panoramic views or the three-story Peacock Tower to look out over the reserve.
If you’re staying at the Kensington Park Hotel London with little ones, the London Wetland Centre is filled with activities to keep them happy. When the sun shines the adventure playground is a must visit, boasting zip slides, climbing walls, and even water games. Even when it’s raining, there’s still fun to be had at the Discovery Zone, which is packed with educational games and puzzles about the wetland areas. If you visit during the school half-term and summer holidays, you can even grab a net to see what lies below the surface of the water.
Daily and special events
If you want to learn a bit more about the area and wetland creatures, there are always daily events on at the centre. Plan your day right and you can meet the otters as they feed, play, and groom or head over to the ponds as the wardens feed the birds to discover more about conservation. The Spotlight Talks are also held daily at the centre and will give you an overview of the work they do in just 15-minutes.
Depending on when you’re visiting London, you might also be lucky enough to catch one of the special events. From insightful lectures to a giant duck hunt, the centre has a great selection of events for you to choose from.